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Local Wal-mart Offers Poor Notebook Shopping Experience



I spent part of yesterday in the East Bay of San Francisco running errands with my wife. She had to pick up something for a friend at Wal-mart and I naturally spent most of our time in the store in the electronics section. That’s where I came upon this display of notebooks hidden behind a plexiglass shield.

I haven’t shopped at Wal-mart in a really long time and I can’t remember seeing what their notebook displays looked like last time I visited one about two years ago in Pennsylvania.

I’m not sure if this is how all Wal-mart stores display their notebooks, but this store was a mess. Two netbooks were stacked on top of each other and the display was about as uninviting as you could imagine.

Customers can’t touch the computers since they’re locked behind plexiglass. The displays are all black because all the computers are turned off and unplugged. This means customers can’t play with them before making their buying decision. The Dell notebooks had giant stickers across the display

Worst of all, the sales associates didn’t seem like they were well trained at helping customers make wise purchasing decisions.

One lady I talked to said had asked a salesperson earlier for the cheapest notebook that her son could use for playing CDs and DVDs. She was directed to the “$300 Acer,” which I told her wouldn’t be a good choice since it was a netbook and didn’t have an optical drive.

When a customer decided to buy an HP Pavilion dv2 for $699 it took a sales associate more than 10 minutes to unlock the cage. As you can see in the video, there are several locks on the cage’s doors. Apparently, the keys for the various locks are on different key rings.

The local Wal-mart’s basically stripped any of the enjoyable or educational aspects of buying a computer out of the process.

Wal-mart might not be where I buy my computers, but this is concerning to me because it’s hard enough to buy the right computer in a pleasant environment. There are fewer and fewer stores where you can go in and play with computers before you buy them. I’m hoping that Wal-marts in your neck of the woods have better computer displays than we have here.



  1. Ross Wirth

    07/20/2009 at 4:44 pm

    hahaha, perhaps you’ve never shopped at Wal-Mart in general? That’s how everything is there. As my dad says – it’s a 2 ton load in a 1/2 ton pick-up.

  2. Xavier Lanier

    07/20/2009 at 5:00 pm

    @Ross, I’ve shopped at Wal-mart maybe about a dozen times, almost always when visiting family members. We don’t have a Wal-mart here in San Francisco, this one was about 45 minutes away.

  3. P J

    07/20/2009 at 5:12 pm

    Really? Seriously?

  4. GRC

    07/20/2009 at 8:05 pm

    The WalMart near us (central Oklahoma)is not bad. Laptops are out where you can play with them and for the most part, they are up and running, at least as much as any other retail outlet. This store actually had a couple of geeks working as sales people in the area that answered questions fairly competently. They didn’t blow any more smoke than the guy at BestBuy did the last time I was in there.

  5. Xavier Lanier

    07/20/2009 at 8:35 pm

    @GRC, good to hear.

  6. YsoSerious

    07/20/2009 at 8:46 pm

    I think it depends on the store manager. I mean sales at Wal-Mart for these guys must be pretty good “overall” for the whole store. So to single out a department that is already meeting sales requirements and provide proper training to sales associates and positively increase customers purchasing experience, would just be too much work. I LOVE me some “Wally-Mart” though cause nothing in the world beats “CHEAP”!!!

  7. Darren

    07/21/2009 at 7:16 am

    Yet another reason to NOT shop at Wal-Mart…

  8. Me

    07/21/2009 at 7:49 am

    Heh… My Walmart(s) are both just like that. Never mind… one of them doesn’t have any computers, that’s right. :(

  9. SAM

    07/21/2009 at 8:46 am

    Fishing pole,
    car freshing tree,
    Nascar model for the kids,
    and a laptop–for checking the Moon cycle for the best fishing times
    ….what more do ya’ need

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